Fans of intelligent cultural coverage, particularly those who tuned in that sort of stuff on the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s Q, had to be disappointed by yesterday’s news that the show’s host, Jian Ghomeshi, was fired following very serious sexual allegations by a former girlfriend.
My hope is that the situation, including other allegations, will work out in a way that justice is served. I refuse to speculate further because, as I often say, no one really knows what happens in a home once the doors are closed except the people involved. You really do not know, so stop speculating.
My interest is in great radio and great cultural coverage, which Q has consistently delivered from Ghomeshi and other hosts, and I hope will continue now that he is gone.
Q has always impressed me as an outlet more interested in art than celebrity, something of a rarity in the star-obsessed national and continental media that seems to regard being on a two-bit reality show like 16 and Pregnant as enough accomplishment to merit coverage of every hookup and breakdown in In Touch Weekly (You sent me all those emails, eventually I was going to say something).
In its several years on the air in Central Kentucky on WEKU-88.9 FM, even if I scoffed at someone Q had on its guest list, I presumed they must have some cultural value for the show to have booked them. Ghomeshi and his colleagues’ interviews always drew out the best and most enlightening discussions. That’s what he brought, and that’s what I currently presume his successors Brent Bambury and Piya Chattopadhyay will continue. (A moment of levity: In the grand scheme of NPR, I think Chattopadhyay, by her name alone, is the obvious heir to the the throne.) The local pairing of Q at 2 p.m. and Fresh Air at 3 gives listeners two hours of the best talk in the nation.
There are many, many iconic programs that have survived multiple host changes. Tonight Show, anyone? We are used to Ghomeshi, but it is fairly obvious however this situation shakes out, that is over. His personality, which did rub some listeners the wrong way, is a big part of the show. But in a new era, with new hosts, the focus may shift more toward the guests and topics. There is a Q tradition of great interviewing highlighting great artists and important topics. I, for one, am pulling for that to continue.
Note: Rich Copley contributes a weekly commentary to WEKU-FM.